The top six powerful health benefits of cacao

September 29, 2016

The top six powerful health benefits of cacao

By Samantha Gemmell, Nutritionist

It's no secret that we all love a good chocolate hit. But did you know that science actually supports the health benefits of it?

Most of chocolate's benefits are hidden away in cacao – the rich bean that cacao tea is made of. So what can daily doses of cacao offer you?

1. Cacao Is Good For Your Heart

Ever get a warm glow after a really nice dose of cacao? That's because it's actually good for your heart and blood vessels.

Research shows that dark chocolate can reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow and reduce 'bad' or LDL cholesterol.

Milk and white chocolate don't show the same benefits, so make sure you're getting a high cacao dose!

2. Cacao Is Good For An Energy Boost

Relying on caffeine to get you going every morning? You might want to switch it for some cacao tea instead.

Cacao is full of theobromine, a compound that works similarly to caffeine. Theobromine is a stimulant, that can boost your energy levels and increase your concentration.

However, unlike caffeine, research shows that theobromine has little to no effect on sleep. This means that you can consume cacao tea later in the day without fear of being up all night!

3. Cacao Is Good For An Antioxidant Boost

A lot of cacao's potent powers stem from the rich array of antioxidants.

Antioxidants support the body by protecting it from damage caused by toxins and inflammation. They can benefit every system of the body, from skin to digestion, the nervous system and even the reproductive system.

4. Cacao Is A Good Source Of Magnesium

Feeling stressed out? Got muscle cramps? You're probably low in magnesium – luckily, your answer is in cacao.

Cacao is a fantastic dietary source of magnesium, with around 500mg of magnesium per 100g of good quality powder. To put that in perspective, the RDI for Australian adults goes between 310-420mg per day.

5. Cacao Is Good For Boosting Your Mood

Feel good after indulging in chocolate? It's not all in your head – it's in your body too.

Cacao contains compounds that can induce a natural high feeling, relieving stress and moodiness. That might explain why us girls head for it when we've had a bad day!

6. Cacao Might Aid In Weight Loss

Just smelling and tasting a small amount of dark chocolate could help you lose weight? Sounds crazy, but the research has been done.

Dark chocolate has been shown to suppress appetite and induce feelings of satiety, both through scent and taste. It does this by reducing the levels of your hunger hormone, ghrelin.

These are just a handful of proven benefits of enjoying cacao daily. So the real question is, why aren't you adding it in? If you're worried about the energy content of chocolate, the perfect choice for you is a cup of delicate cacao tea!

 

References

http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/46/2/398.full
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cpt1970116869/abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3672386/
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167011510000169
http://jop.sagepub.com/content/early/2009/11/26/0269881109106923.abstract
http://www.sajcn.co.za/index.php/SAJCN/article/viewFile/285/272

 

Author Profile

Samantha Gemmell
www.samanthagemmell.com

Samantha is a passionate nutritionist (BHSc), health writer and public speaker with a love of words, mindfulness and food as medicine. Holding a Bachelor of Health Science and a Certificate 3 in Fitness, Sam has plans of further studies in PT, meditation teaching and journalism – ever the eternal student.

Supporting Australian based businesses and causes is an important part of who Sam is and she's a proud ambassador of Smiling Mind, and a student rep for Endeavour College of Natural Health.

Sam also hopes to be an ongoing role model for those who seek wellness despite having chronic health conditions, by practising what she calls 'Chronically Thriving' – not allowing a health condition to hold her back, but rather working with her body so that it can be healthy and happy.

She has a beautiful staffie named Nina, an inability to sleep with socks on, and a love of networking and connecting with like-minded people.

 



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